Man Arrested in Connection With Brutal Murder of American Artist in Florence

Ashley Olsen met the man in a nightclub.

Ashley Olsen. Photo: via Instagram.
Ashley Olsen. Photo: via Instagram.

A Senegalese immigrant has been arrested in connection to the alleged murder of Ashley Olsen, an American artist based in Florence, reports Reuters. Olsen was found dead in her apartment  January 10. Traces of DNA found on a condom and on her body matched that of the suspect, the 27-year-old Tidiane Cheik Diaw.

The arrest was announced at a press conference by Giuseppe Creazzo, the prosecutor in charge of the case. He indicated that witnesses saw Olsen leave the Montecarla nightclub with Diaw, and that the two were captured together on CCTV recordings.

Tidiane Cheik Diaw has been arrested in connection to the death of American artist Ashley Olsen in Florence. Photo: Italian Police.

Tidiane Cheik Diaw has been arrested in connection to the death of American artist Ashley Olsen in Florence.
Photo: Italian Police.

Investigators believe that after having consensual sex, the suspect strangled Olsen, then left the apartment with her cell phone, substituting her sim card with his own. “There was no sign of any erotic game,” Creazzo told Reuters.

Diaw, who has been living illegally in Italy, “largely admitted” to killing Olsen, Creazzo said. Though complete toxicology tests have not been processed, the prosecutor suspects neither party “were entirely clear-headed” at the time of the incident.

Olsen’s body was discovered by her boyfriend, 43-year-old painter Federic Fiorentini. Although the two are said to have fought shortly before her death, Fiorentini was reportedly not considered a suspect in the case.

Olsen moved to Italy from Florida in 2012, joining her father, who is a local art professor, in Florence. In a statement, he described her as “a beautiful and creative young woman with a happy, exuberant and generous soul, who loved her life in Florence.”

The case is likely to be under close scrutiny, following the highly-criticized conviction of American student Amanda Knox in the 2007 stabbing of her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher. Knox was ultimately acquitted of the crime, but not before serving four years behind bars. Police are said to have mishandled the investigation, and related DNA evidence.

In this instance, Creazzo was quick to praise officers, noting that DNA tests were completed “in record time.”

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